Published: 28 Nov 2019
Updated: 08 Feb 2024
Category: HR & Workplace Culture

Welcome Onboard: A New Hire First Day Checklist


Joining a new organisation can be a little awkward and stressful for some. Anyone who’s ever had a first day at work knows that it’s not easy to fit into an already established workgroup.
If you want to help your employees hit the ground running, lay out a checklist for their onboarding process.
As an employer, it’s in your best interest to give your new employee a chance to fit in as soon as possible. The longer they spend trying to find their place, the less productive they will be. Here’s what a good onboarding checklist should look like.

Why Onboarding Matters?

Effective onboarding is crucial for employee retention and productivity as it sets the tone for a successful working relationship between the employee and the organisation. When a new employee feels welcomed, valued, and equipped with the necessary tools and information to perform their job, they are more likely to feel engaged, motivated, and committed to the organisation. This leads to better job satisfaction, higher productivity, and ultimately, increased employee retention. On the other hand, a poorly executed onboarding process can leave new employees feeling disengaged, unsupported, and unprepared, leading to higher turnover rates and lower productivity. A well-designed onboarding program can positively impact an employee's long-term success within the organisation.

Before the First Day

When onboarding a new employee, there are a few things you should do prior to their arrival. You can think of this as the pre-first-day checklist. It’s some basic things that will make everything smoother when they arrive at work.

  • Put together an email for your new employee. This will be a reference document that they can look back to in case they’re confused about something. In the email, outline the schedule for their first day and list all the documents that the employee should bring. Make sure you don’t leave out any of the necessary documents.

  • Advise the new employee on the office dress code beforehand, if any. Also, list any exceptions to the code and when those apply. Give the employee the information of their contact person and attach your company’s employee handbook.

  • Additionally, send an email to your current employees briefly informing them about the new hire. It doesn’t need to be very long, just list the employee’s name and job title and when they will start working. Then, you can move on to the new employee first day agenda.

The Employee First Day Checklist

Starting a new job can evoke a mix of excitement and overwhelm. To make the transition smooth, employers usually have a first-day checklist for new employees.

1. Welcome Aboard

When the new hire arrives, the first thing that should happen is to meet you or whoever is assigned to conduct the onboarding process.
If you can manage it, set aside some time for an office meeting to welcome the new employee. It’s easier than introducing the employee individually at each workstation. During the meeting, introduce the new employee and allow them to present themselves to the team.
You should have a welcome package prepared with an employee handbook, an office map, HR forms, organisational chart, and anything else you think is relevant. Hand your new employee the welcome package and then you can start the office tour.
The tour should be a comprehensive, but expedient part of onboarding, meaning no valuable time is lost and other employees are not disturbed to a significant degree. It’s a busy workday after all. Show the employee around and devote a little extra time to places and people they’ll be working with directly.

2. Set up the Workspace and Other Equipment

After the office tour, you can help your new employee get situated at their office or desk. Make sure they have office supplies and any other equipment they might need to do their job.
Give them any access tools they’ll need and go over how they should use them. This includes office keys, parking cards, and software dongles, among others.
Help the employee set up their equipment and make sure they know who to talk to if they run into problems. You should ideally have a company email set up for them by their first day, but anytime within the first week should be fine.
If there are specific instructions for using office equipment, such as printers or servers, now would be the perfect moment to tell them.

3. Finalize New Employee Documentation and Paperwork

Finalizing new employee documentation and paperwork on the first day on board is a crucial process that ensures that the new hire's employment starts on the right foot. The process involves collecting essential documents from the new employee, including tax forms, contracts, payroll information, and any other required employee forms. This documentation is fundamental in ensuring that the employee's details are accurately captured for payroll and other administrative purposes.

In addition to the essential documentation, it is equally important to provide the new employee with an employee handbook, benefits package information, and a designated point of contact for inquiries related to benefits or pay. This information helps the employee understand the company's culture, values, and policies, as well as their benefits and compensation package.

Moreover, including the job description in the new employee's paperwork is critical in setting clear role expectations and ensuring that the employee understands their duties and responsibilities from the onset. Finalizing new employee documentation and paperwork on the first day on board is a crucial step in creating a positive onboarding experience and laying a solid foundation for a productive and successful employment tenure.

4. Meeting with Direct Supervisor and HR

A meeting with the manager or supervisor should be on the new employee first day agenda. It will give both the employee and the manager a chance to get to know each other and share important information.
The manager should go over the organisational chart and the employee’s job description in detail. Both sides should clearly communicate their needs and expectations. Furthermore, the manager can include a brief overview of the employee’s future career development.
HR staff can be included in the meeting or you can have a separate meeting. This is to inform the new hire about their compensation plan and answer any HR-related questions that might crop up. The employee should be made aware of any workplace policies that are relevant and have been left out until this time.
Once this meeting is concluded, the new employee can receive their first task.

5. Enhance the Onboarding Experience with Welcome Social Gatherings

Hosting social events like luncheons or happy hours is a great way to enhance the onboarding experience and foster networking. These events not only provide an opportunity for new hires to connect with their colleagues, but also help them to understand the company's culture and values. Planning such gatherings requires careful consideration of factors like the venue, time, and budget. It's essential to ensure that the event is inclusive and caters to diverse interests and dietary needs. By creating a positive and comfortable environment, new hires feel welcomed and motivated to engage with their new colleagues, which can lead to increased productivity and a more positive work environment.

6. Create a Memorable First Day with Company Swag

Creating a memorable first day for a new employee is vital to making them feel welcome and appreciated in their new role. One way to achieve this is by providing them with company swag. Company swag, such as branded t-shirts, water bottles, or notebooks, not only serves as a welcoming gesture but also helps new hires feel like they are part of the team. These items can also be useful tools for new employees to remember important information about the company, like key values, mission statements, or company culture. Additionally, giving a personalized swag item to new employees can show that the company is invested in their success and can help establish a sense of belonging from day one.

How do I measure the effectiveness of my onboarding process?

Starting a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, and it's important for employers to ensure that their employees feel welcomed and supported throughout the onboarding process. One way to achieve this is by scheduling a check-in at the end of the first day to gather feedback and address any questions or concerns the new employee might have.
By organizing a check-in, the employer can gather valuable insights into how the onboarding process could be improved and identify any potential issues that may arise. New employees may have questions or concerns that they may not feel comfortable addressing during the initial onboarding process, so a check-in provides an opportunity for them to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
Additionally, a check-in can help new employees feel more comfortable and confident in their new role, as it shows that their employer values their feedback and is invested in their success. Overall, scheduling a check-in at the end of the first day is a simple but effective way to improve the onboarding experience and set new employees up for success.

All's Well That Starts Well

This is a very basic checklist for onboarding a new employee. The smoother this process goes, the faster your new employee will assimilate into the company culture. A good onboarding process isn’t complicated, but it will make a big difference.
In a nutshell, you should schedule an office meeting to welcome the new employee and have them meet the team. Then, give them an office tour and set up their workspace along with any office supplies they might need. Finally, organise a meeting with their manager and go over their duties and how they fit into the company.



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